Incense Types

Incense Types

The scent of incense is more than just a fragrance; it can set the mood for an entire room. From the best ingredients to look for to the difference between cones and sticks, experts share their top tips on choosing the right incense.

Pumphrey says to consider the purpose for which you are using the incense and choose a scent accordingly. She suggests looking for natural ingredients and a short burn time.


Incense sticks are the most popular type and come in a variety of lengths for longer or shorter burn times. These are typically a mix of tabu wood powder, aromatic essential oils and resins or dried herbs. Scents like rose and jasmine are known as natural aphrodisiacs while incenses that contain juniper can help purify the home or heal negative energy.

Many people use stick incense in meditation, prayer and yoga practices to help with focus, tranquility or spiritual connection. They are also a great way to bring in the outdoors with a fresh scent. Try burning a stick of cedar or vetiver when working on a project or just to ground yourself in the moment. Scents can also be used as a subtle timer to help keep you on track during work or meditation. They can even be scented to smell like a fresh rain or spring breeze. Sticks are also available pre-formed and dipped in fragrance for convenience.


Unlike stick incense, cone-shaped incense releases a larger fragrance into the air because the point of the cone is exposed to the air when lit. It’s ideal for scenting a large space in a short amount of time.

Incense has been a part of religious practices since ancient times, used for fumigating tombs, creating altars, and clearing negative energy from a space. It’s also known to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Aside from being a great scent, burning incense has been shown to improve concentration and increase mental clarity. Aromas such as frankincense and white sage can help calm anxiety, while jasmine and rose help open the heart chakra. Try burning incense before an important meeting or as you wind down for the evening to set a positive tone. You can even use it while journaling or meditating to keep your focus and allow the scent to guide you deeper into yourself.


Incense that is extruded into a coil without the bamboo cores of sticks and cones is known as coil incense. It is usually made with natural raw materials, shaped and dried, then coated in essential oils for fragrance. It can burn for extended periods of time, depending on its length. It is a good choice for scenting large rooms such as family rooms.

Indulge your senses and evoke feelings of tranquility by choosing the incense scent that speaks to you. For example, if you like the smell of the forest or the ocean and find it soothing, try Rain Forest incense. Or, if you want to feel refreshed and relaxed during your morning meditation or reading time, stick with natural scents that help calm the mind, such as frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, and cedar. These are known as aromatherapy and help relax the mind, body, and soul. They also aid in focusing and meditating.


For hundreds of years, powder incense has been used to create a soothing atmosphere and enhance meditation or spiritual practices. It is also believed to purify the air and promote relaxation.

When preparing this type of incense, there are many ingredients that can be added. Some of these increase the heat to make it burn faster and more evenly. Others help to slow down the burn, and others add a subtle scent. These are all considered “base” materials, although you could just as easily consider them to be part of the aromatic ingredients in your blend.

Other base ingredients include fixatives, which preserve the delicate top notes of a fragrance. They are usually used in combination with other ingredients that will give the finished product the right consistency and burning qualities, since the scents of these types of incense can fade quickly. Another key ingredient is an oxidizer, which is used to ensure the proper ratio of fuel to ash.